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A Suburban Retrofit Rides the Bike Trails

Communities around Northwest Arkansas have placed bike infrastructure at the center of a plan to retrofit suburban communities.
April 6, 2018, 7am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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A pedestrian and bike bridge over Clear Creek in Fayetteville.

Robert Steuteville shares the development details of the Razorback Greenway and a larger effort that has added 163 of pedestrian and bike trails and implemented systematic attention to urban design in the Northwest Arkansas region.

Steuteville examines Northwest Arkansas as a case study for suburban retrofits, with special attention to the benefits of bike infrastructure.

Studies show that bicycling in general provided $137 million in health and economic benefits to the region in 2017, reports the Walton Family Foundation. The foundation provided $74 million for the construction of the trails over the last 10 years, working with municipalities that provide ongoing contributions—and use of trails rose 24 percent in the last two years.

The trail system is one layer of reforms, along with form-based development codes, revitalization of historic main streets, and investment in culture and the arts, that are designed to make this region more livable. Bicycling infrastructure is a suburban retrofit strategy in Northwest Arkansas.

The article provides historical context for the development of the region, a brief description of the current state of the region, and the goals and achievements of the ongoing suburban retrofit program.

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Published on Thursday, April 5, 2018 in The Atlantic
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